Wait, what? I sat up straight, re-read the passage in my Bible and listened to what he was talking about.
1 Peter 5:8-14
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle [you.] 11 To Him [be] the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 12 By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. 13 She who is in Babylon, elect together with [you,] greets you; and [so does] Mark my son. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen."
What really got my attention was when Pastor pointed out that Satan is MY adversary. MY personal enemy. He is actually prowling around trying to snatch me up! Yikes!! I think that so often we, well I, just think of Satan as some type of evil force really. I know that he is real and I know that he is actually something tangible, but I still just presume that at least in MY life he is that evil little guy on my shoulder. He's easy to flick away and because the Lord is with me always, he's really nothing to worry or think about. I just presume that being the Prince of Darkness, he must have bigger fish to fry.
Not so, according to 1 Peter! Apparently with Satan and I, it's a personal battle!! At first I thought, "how scary! And how dumb!" I mean really, me?? What am I going to do? Why would he want to waste his time being after me? Then I started to think about how that shows how powerful I can actually be for God. Perhaps I'm not a very big threat right this moment, or yesterday or even tomorrow. But Satan knows that I love my God and the potential I have to grow the kingdom of God for Jesus, to be a warrior for Christ is quite threatening to him! In a way, having Satan as my personal enemy is a touch flattering. ;o) And it also opens my eyes to the responsibility I have as a follower of Christ! I am not just a Christian, I really am a warrior! This is a battle, every single day!
Pastor also talked about how Satan is not a picture of evil, but rather comes to us as an image of light! He knows us so well, inside and out. He knows what our weaknesses are, he knows just the right buttons to push, the right temptations to send our way, the right circumstances to weave into our lives to make us turn our eyes from our King. There is no room to be less than the best we can be. We must be at the top of our game all the time, anticipating Satan's attacks and defending our faith.
Now that I'm writing all this, I suppose it sounds a little overwhelming, a bit burdensome! It sounds like a lot of work! And I know it is, Jesus never said that it would be easy to follow in His steps, but He did promise it would be well worth it when we get to the end. But as I read these verses, I did not feel burdened or overwhelmed, I felt empowered! I felt enlightened! I am part of a battle for Christ, daily! Satan is seeking me out personally to destroy me and my relationship with my Maker. So, with this knowledge, I will sharpen my sword and take the ranks with fellow believers, defending our Lord and fighting for our faith. Satan will not triumph and he will not succeed in making me waver. I know there are times when I will fall short, when I will grow weary and perhaps Satan will think he has won, but with Christ's help I know I will stand strong again. And how loving of a Father do we have? He tells Peter to warn us to be alert and diligent, to know that Satan is on the prowl, but also tells us that we are not alone in our trials and suffering and that it is just for a short while! There is nothing we can go through that we are alone in, Jesus is with us always and fellow children of God all over the world are also experiencing the same hurts, aches, suffering, temptations and falls. It will be over soon, though in the midst of tribulation it may seem like an eternity. God will guide us through this battle and be victorious in the end!
So, to my enemy, I say bring it on. I'm ready. I have God on my side, and as long as things seem difficult, like I'm fighting an uphill battle, I will remain joyful because I know that I must be heading in the right direction and there is only light where I'm going.